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tv   Inside Washington  WETA  March 4, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EST

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>> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer, alternative fuels for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser. growing ideas. >> we found out today that we can no longer bury our dead in this country with dignity. >> this week on "inside washington," the supreme court, down in favor of free speech, even if paid full speech. >> shot of all of that talk about infliction of emotional distress. >> congress gives the government running for two weeks. >> i do not think passing a
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spending bill for 14 days is any thing to celebrate. >> if you give congress four weeks, they would take four weeks, six weeks, they would take six weeks. >> in libya, what to do about that topic? >> gaddafi needs to step down from power and leave. >> what is next for newt gingrich? how about the white house? >> we will look at this very seriously and very methodically laid out the framework of what we will do next. >> this one makes your blood boil, makes my blood boil and wood. 20-year-old u.s. marine corps lance corporal matthew snyder died in iraq, non-combat related. in 2006 when friends and family were bearing him, members of the westboro baptist church of topeka, kansas, showed up to
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inform the world that the lambs " was that was god's punishment for this nation's tolerance for homosexual. they held up signs that said, thank god for dead soldiers. thank god for 9/11. corporal snyder's father sued the church for inflicting emotional distress, among other things. a baltimore jury awarded him $11 million, later reduced to five and an appeals court threw out the verdict and this week the supreme court ruled 8-1 has heard all as the speech was, it was another last protected by the first amendment. as "the wall street journal" put it the other day, even jurors are protected by the first amendment. did you agree, nina question of >> the occurred agreed. remember the word empathy? you have empathy for mr. snyder, but the court's job is not necessarily to have empathy but to say what the rules are that cover -- govern the country. they say the first amendment is not free speech for what we all agree with but the fringes.
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if we don't curtail it -- if we allow it to be curtailed their we do not have a free debate. >> charles? >> i agree. a cliche is the glory of the first amendment is it for tax hateful speech, otherwise he did not need it for a speech that is okay and accepted. but i think it sheds light on a corner of our lives, which is universities that have had the speech codes where the law does not reach in and do what it did in this case -- case, which is vindicate freeze beast. you had a great curtailment of speech precisely on the grounds of hurtful speech. and i think it has been a bane. not so that we should be proud of. i think occur -- court got it right and seven example. >> what charles talked about. interestingly, you would think the university would be the absolute center of free-speech spirit of the whole liberal arts idea. it is not. it is where political correctness still reigns and the students are afraid of saying
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things. the very place where the of the be freest, they are not. i think it vindicates the whole idea. it was 8-1, an easy case. >> mark? 8-1. i identify with your empathy. good thing i was not on the court because i would've voted with alito and would have had a tough time explaining that at home. [laughter] but i really understand the family's reaction. and i think the court in the final analysis was clear headed. >> here is albert snyder. as far as he is concerned, the eight justices who ruled against and the not have the sense that god gave a goat. >> this court has no problem with the government sending our children over to these wars, send them back in a body bag and not even have an of respect for that dead soldier to be very peacefully. >> i am telling you, the pickets
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quadrupled and exponentially the coverage increase. so, thank you, mr. snyder. now, your son still guide for your sins. you still have to obey. >> that their four a person is margie phelps, a member of the church and the personal argue the case before the u.s. supreme court. the phelps have taken about $100,000 of legal fees from mr. snyder -- will he have to pay that? >> i am confident that people will raise money to help pay that money. whatever the fees are, if, in fact, the law firm wants them. but i interviewed all the protagonists in this and your heart back -- just went out to the family. but, you saw the court at the oral argument struggling with the spirit that would have loved to have ruled for them. there just was no way. >> 48 states, 42 u.s. veterans, -- senators, that immigrants cited what albert snyder from what they call the phelps families at a lot of terrorism
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but a number of news organizations decided with the other side, saying the first the men of protection of the absolute. just as a leak -- alito argued that felt family was engaged in fighting words, not protected by first amendment. >> first of all, the first amendment is not a suicide pact so there are some limits, not absolute. you can't scream fire in a crowded theater. but the limits of restricting speech are pretty far out there. it has to be something really outrageous for the courts to move. remember when the nazis or marching? >> or burning the american flag? >> the well-established that the limits are way out there of what is permissible. you have to do something outrageous or dangerous. >> it is a case like this and that makes you want to recommend extra-legal remedies -- [laughter] used to call that day possee or something did not recommending that. just stating that wistfully.
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but there are no ways illegally in this kind of a public that we have to do anything other than what the court had decided. >i wish it would apply in other corners of american society. >> extra-legal remedies would be a dumb guerrilla liberty? >> it would -- i do not think the doctor is recommending that. is that the blood boils. of the blood does boil. >> what the -- you have to understand about the westboro baptist church is they are very shrewd. they don't believe in civil disobedience but they do believe in publicity. they always alert authorities in advance. they do exactly what they are told. they stand where they are supposed to. they actually fold up their tent before the funeral actually begins. but the alerting of the authority's also brings an enormous amount of publicity. >> excellency -- shows you how lenient,,, expansive we are in granting protection, a church protection of groups. this is obviously a cult of
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nutcakes, but almost anybody can get a group of nutcakes, call themselves a church and get protections from taxes, which is not true in most other countries. only here. we have a very wide interpretation of the freedom of speech and of religion. >> the supreme court -- or "the wall street journal" called them jerks. of course, we could think of other words the we are on tv. the federal government is still in business, at least for a couple of weeks. >> no threat of a government shutdown. i have been reading this for weeks and i chuckled. >> this is a stalling tactic by house republicans because they are unwilling to enter into serious negotiations. it has grave consequences to do business. >> we are in business for a couple of weeks anyway. for the record, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.9%, 192,000 jobs added. by the way, 30,000 jobs lost in state and local governments.
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we can talk about that. this week members of congress return from a long deserved rest. what happened at the end of two weeks? >> i guess the dance goes on. clearly the obama administration is not doing what i and others loudmouths london to do -- saying, come on. this is a slow dance. they're trying to lure the republicans in a bipartisan process to reduce spending. this will bounce along for weeks and weeks. it apparently without the kind of confrontation that will stop government altogether. >> it is interesting to me that in all of the public polling, you don't see john boehner becoming a lightning rod. he is doing what a leader is supposed to do. basically behind the scenes are operating. he may not be a nobel prize winner for his intellect but he is enormously successful in the balancing act -- his majority,
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and the federal government has not closed down. if it does, i think it is a failure. but he managed to walk the tightrope. >> he has no members that are not willing to compromise. >> in an exclusive interview for "the wall street journal" on thursday, john boehner, crossed the third rail. he said he is determined to submit a budget that does reduce the social security and medicare spending, coming from the and managed -- from anybody else in a position of leadership. he said, i know it is going to be tough and it is up to us. he also said at the same time, a warning shot to his own caucus, it is responsibility to pass the debt ceiling. we have to do it but -- or it threatens the united states economy. a groan of behaving. >> if he had gone to page a5, he would have seen the note nbc/"
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wall street/"poll that has the majority saying don't touch social security and medicare. >> like 62%. total unreality. >> springtime moment in middle east and washington. we want to believe in democracy over there, and here we want to believe may be political parties will step up to heart problems and do it by compromise and a bipartisan and low-key way. will last? i don't know. but it is a good moment. >> it is a moment. i think it is happening in the state level, wisconsin, ohio, and elsewhere, and in the national level you are getting republicans, as mark indicated -- not the president, who in the state of the union and budget did not do a thing about social security or medicare -- or tax reform or anything large or important, all of the stuff we are doing now is really small. we have a deficit of $1.65 trillion and what we did was reduce the debt by $4 billion.
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literally a rounding error. and republicans, led by paul ryan decided and leadership they will actually produce a budget, or propose a budget in april that will cut entitlements. that is new. the democrats are lying in wait. a simple game -- let the republicans lead and then demagogue them and when in 2012. >> precisely the question. is this just a cynical game the democrats are planning to lower the republicans also like a hammer them for throwing granny in the snow? or an honest effort to engage in negotiations that will produce the big cuts. i think the jury is out. it could be cynical -- i suspect it was cynical, but i am starting to wonder. >> is it a trap? >> i do not know if this is a trap. a couple of facts we have to address what we talk about the alarm. social security is funded until 2037. even with the increases.
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medicare is funded until 2029. neither one is growing -- going broke this year. i have to be addressed and have to be confronted. the democratic pollster -- put it well. americans have more government than they are willing to pay for bid up and talk about 25% of gross domestic product being spent by the federal government, a lot by historical standards and any standards, but if you are taxing people at 15% of gross domestic product you are kidding yourself if you do not put taxes on the table. >> that is the third rail. >> one of the interesting thing that i think has happened -- do not agree with charles about wisconsin -- but i think it has been a leveling influence. but i did not think it has been a successful moment for the governor in wisconsin. his numbers have gone down, galvanize nationally the democratic base. so, there are dangers to sort of too much of a confrontation.
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what we are seeing in wisconsin, good for anybody less seen it. >> they oppose efforts to strip government workers of collective bargaining -- >> i would not measure success and wisconsin by the results of a pole. i would remember whether the state remains solvent or not and that is what it is about. secondly, market talk about social security and medicare being soldan's. you believe that only if you believe that in the lock box in virginia where the social security fund -- trust fund supposedly exists, is real money. it has little iou's, promises but not a penny in there. social security is a pay-as-you- go system and right now this year it tips from a surplus to going to deficit and it will wreck us. >> the poll that you cited -- i have great respect for abc and a times and everyone else. it is a terrific role because
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and has to agree pollsters -- a republican and democrat. it was honest. two out of three voters want collective bargaining for public employees, including better than one-third of republicans do. so, the governor is right now, not talking about solvency. he is trying to break up a collective bargaining and he is going to lose. >> there is a page-one story in "the new york times" about a 30- year-old science teacher in madison, wisconsin. she makes 34 -- $36,000 a year, and those 26,000 in student loans, cannot afford a carpet is a must to keep teaching so she will move to colorado with her parents. is she the problem? >> this is a fascinating case -- and the liberal "the new york times" strikes back. i have been dumping on the teachers' unions for a long time. all this momentum that the teacher unions a terrible.
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at a "gut times" a found a perfect test case. appealing, she is nice looking, takes care of little kids. still not loans. she has to leave the state. >> she is not that atypicl the empire strikes back. >> but what about her? what about the kids deceit -- she teaches? >> it was a phony exercise. >> for the kids? give me a break. >> not a phony exercise. >> how naive can be? >> the statistics do not lie. and every state or city you go to, you ask what percentage of teachers let go for cause, always zero or 0.01%. a pop -- impossible to get fired under these union contracts. >> perhaps one of the few members of this panel a graduate of public schools, a challenge anybody to say what teacher most inspired them and their entire educational career.
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almost invariably a teacher who taught for 20 years. as long serving teacher who had a special connection. >> no link with the singer. -- >> hi erica about is that these people would become hedge fund managers -- hierarchal values? for the student loans for teaching. >> i agree. >> hello? >> it is not statistically -- >> older teachers are bad? >> not that. but absolutely no correlation between security and quality. >> let me hear from charles. >> i have not said anything. >> there is a complete in balance when you have a public employee and private employees. if you have a capitalist negotiating with a union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. so you have a serious negotiation. if you got a public union negotiating with the government, the negotiator on
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the other side of the table has none of this money invested, and in fact, the more lenient he is a more accommodating to a union demand, the more likely is to be the beneficiary of the largess of the union at election time that that is why you have had these extraordinary union contracts where it is not the wages, it is the benefits -- as we saw in wisconsin. pays zero into pensions, and a quarter of what other people pay for health care. >> nina? >> as a graduate of public schools and the mother of a public-school teacher. let me say most public school teachers may, by comparison to police and firemen, incredibly very little money. they do one job security. they did not want some pricipal to fire them at will. there is an argument on both sides. but the people who are educating their children, if they make
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$50,000 a year, so what? >> charles' figures are insisting they're wrong. nine states and the country for bid collective bargaining for public employees and their indebtedness is higher than states that have collective bargaining. so, explain that, if you would please, dr.? >> ok. he will have to do it later. what do about gaddafi. >> the violence must stop. muammar gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave. >> one of the chance of that in his desperation, that gaddafi just arts to kill people? we all admit he is insane. >> there is your dilemma. gaddafi must go but how you get rid of a madman, charles? >> you have to hope of the libyans themselves would do it looks like it may end up either as a stalemate where you would have an east and west libya, two countries, or you could have a very long for a long civil war. and i was four years.
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these things did not have to end in 18 days as in egypt. the dilemma we have it is do we really want to commit ourselves to one side. if it looked like gaddafi was almost gone and all he knew it was a push on the that there -- our controlling air space and allow the rebels to counterattack, you might say, yes. but you have to think of contingencies. what if gaddafi hangs on after we impose a no-fly zone? we are then committing a civil war that could be endless. >> they are not easy. you have to take off -- out of the air defenses. >> it is a big country. a major military operation. somehow the great commandos in congress, but not anywhere near any military service, have this idea you can do it magically with aircraft. you can't. let's be very blunt about this. the experience this country has had in iraq and afghanistan has
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made us invasion averse, casualty averse, and certainly occupation averse. we will not have a fourth war at this point. >> secretary gates did give a woodcut reality call and his testimony this week. in the other thing is, you can't just are pumping weapons in. those weapons can end up on the wrong side, as we saw in afghanistan and >> the often do. >> 1986, we tried to kill gaddafi. remember, he was linked to a terrorist attack in berlin and we sent in an air strike, blow up a tent, missed the 10 -- did not kill him but we killed one of his daughters. the point is, no such thing as a surgical strike. they are hard to do. >> by the way, i read this week that the case, pan am 103 case on gaddafi is still open, lockerbie still open.
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>> the longest. >> one reason we want to kaelin is because he deserves it, and we all him. new do not have a bureaucrat in libya who wakes up one morning and says i want to explode and airplane. it all emanates out of gaddafi. >> newt gingrich for president. it back -- >> what you lived through 42 and a half long years it is almost systematic, the leverage -- for the past two and have long years, systematic effort to avoid the truth will never seen an american history. >> april 27, 1998, on the and treatment of president clinton. newt gingrich, as mark shields pointed out, once complained clinton made him ride on the back of air force one and then "the new york daily news" label and a crybaby but they accomplished something. what are the odds of a new gingrich candidacy?
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>> let's hope. pretty good. he certainly has the capacity to raise money. he has a temporary position. at an exploratory stage. a little tension in his own staff because the political guys said he would announce the explorer tours committee and the press that said he was not and he basically didn't but he did recommend a website that he and mrs. gingrich have, and unfortunately it has won a photo of a crowd, waving flags, smiling, mixed racially, ethnically, beautiful. they lifted it from ted kennedy's web site, which is kind of interesting for an original thinker. >> but it was a nice shot. charles? >> i will not comment on what mark said because he is a commentator but i will say your introduction was a model of impartiality to >> thank you. >> added crybaby an impeachment.
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look, this is a guy uncorked -- considerable achievement. he won the house for the republicans for the first time in two generations. he had some successes. he and the president. clinton at the time it essentially gave birth to the most importance social legislation at that time, abolition of welfare. it he is not exactly the kind of man that i think is going to win the republican nomination but i think he is to all over the place and has a lot of baggage. but he is an interesting a serious guy. i just want to commend you on the way you evenhandedly -- >> i and glad you enjoyed it. >> newt gingrich is a man of enormous contradictions. a person of considerable intellect will have great organizational skills and can be really smart, but also an inspirational -- but can also be incredibly cynical. commando loves to sort of used the social wedge issues -- a man
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who loves to sort of use the social with issues but his own family history that would not withstand easy scrutiny. and there are many more. he is a fascinating -- it is like out of a novel. >> i will listen to a lecture about ben franklin this week. one of the greatest scientist of the 19th century, british diplomat, had a horrible family life. it is interesting. this large ego -- and i agree with charles. newt has and what of ideas and politics contributed a lot. the fact he has a rotten family life is kind of sad but not without precedent. >> what the family life. this guy has more baggage than united van lines. in it was a brilliant leader that had two mutinies and had to leave as speaker. yes, he was the architect and engineer of the takeover but obviously not an effective leader to the point where his own troops rebelled against him.
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>> he left behind some landmark legislation, he and clinton together. that is quite an achievement if you are an insurgent. he was a good political leader. i just don't know how shrinking as the republican field. romney, newt gingrich, perhaps pawlenty. that is it. >> that is the last word. see you next week. >> for a transcript of this broadcast, log onto vo:geico, committed to providing service to
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